This week’s entry may be the most frustrating episode of ‘Twin Peaks’ yet… and I’m including James’ road trip story arc in Season 2 when I say that. Among other sins, the show finally brings back a beloved character, only to utterly botch the job.
As I’ve complained about a couple times previously, this hour of television can hardly even rightly be called an “episode.” It’s mostly a collection of random odds and ends that feel like they ought to be squeezed in between more important plot developments that never actually come.
Albert, Gordon and Tammy meet for drinks at their hotel. Albert explains to Tammy a little bit of the history of Project Blue Book (the military’s formal investigation into UFOs) and the Blue Rose cases that sprung from it (essentially, the X-Files). He name-checks important characters Phillip Jeffries, Chet Desmond, and of course Dale Cooper. Gordon and Albert then formally invite Tammy to join the Blue Rose task force. Gordon is very pleased when she accepts.
After a moment, Diane arrives. Pointing to her own past involvement with Blue Rose, Gordon asks to deputize her. Diane’s first question is what’s in it for her. Not much, except a little bit of money and the satisfaction of finding out what happened to her friend Cooper. Diane thinks for a moment, then makes a finger-gun gesture and says, “Let’s rock” (which fans of course know as a catchphrase of the Little Man from Another Place).
When she has some time alone, Diane texts again with Mr. C, who wants to know if the FBI has asked her about Las Vegas yet.
Later that night, Albert stops at Gordon’s room and finds him in the company of a younger woman (Bérénice Marlohe from ‘Skyfall’), who behaves like a cartoon stereotype of a French vixen. The woman takes a comically exaggerated amount of time to say her goodbyes to Gordon and leave the room. Gordon is clearly besotted with her. Once they’re alone, Albert shows Gordon Diane’s texts. They wonder what they could be missing that pertains to Las Vegas.
Down in the hotel bar, Diane recalls the coordinates written onto Ruth Davenport’s arm and plugs them into Google Earth (or some fictional equivalent) on her phone. The map shows her that they lead to Twin Peaks.
Meanwhile, Mr. C’s accomplices Hutch and Chantal (Tim Roth and Jennifer Jason Leigh) stake out the house of prison warden Murphy. As soon as he arrives home, Hutch snipes him with a rifle right in front of the man’s young son, then they drive off to get some fast food.
Dougie’s son attempts to play catch with Mr. Jackpots. It goes about as well as you’d expect. Kyle MacLachlan is on screen for about 20 seconds this week and that’s all we see of him in any of his multiple characters.
Jerry Horne finally makes his way out of the woods and runs through a field.
Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) goes shopping and picks up a lot of liquor. While checking out, she gets weirded out by packages of turkey jerky behind the register. Then she has some sort of mental snap and starts babbling nonsense about “Men are coming” and “Something happened to me!” before running out of the store without her booze. The bag boy questions whether he should try to deliver her purchases to her house.
Hawk later stops by the Palmer house to check on Sarah. She’s not exactly happy to see him. He hears a noise coming from her kitchen, but she denies that anyone else is in the house with her. (Could it be the bag boy?) Hawk offers to help her in any way he can, but Sarah insists that she’s fine and shuts the door in his face.
At the Fat Trout trailer park (or New Fat Trout, which I suppose explains why it’s now in Twin Peaks rather than Deer Meadow), Carl Rodd has a lengthy conversation with one of his tenants, and very generously allows the man to skip his rent for the month so that he won’t have to sell any more of his blood for money. This is merely the first of several extended non sequitur scenes in the episode that seem to have nothing to do with anything.
Miriam Sullivan is seen unconscious but alive at the hospital.
Frank pays Ben Horne a visit to inform him that his grandson is responsible for killing the little boy in the street and for attacking Miriam. At the very least, this serves as confirmation that the Twin Peaks police are bothering to investigate the boy’s death at all, and aren’t totally clueless about who’s responsible. However, Frank states that Miriam was the only witness to the crime, which flatly contradicts the scene in Episode 6, during which a number of people saw Richard run down the child, including the boy’s mother and the driver of the truck he passed.
Ben is saddened by this news, but not shocked. “That boy has never been right,” he laments. Frank asks Ben if he will help pay for a surgery Miriam needs, and Ben agrees without hesitation. Before Frank leaves, Ben shows him the room key that he received in the mail, explaining that it belonged to Agent Cooper’s former room. He asks Frank to give it to Harry as a memento. Afterwards, Ben tells his assistant Beverly (Ashley Judd) the news about Richard, and claims that the boy never had a father. (This perhaps plays into fan speculation that Mr. C impregnated Audrey.)
Dr. Jacoby broadcasts another loony podcast shilling his gold-plated shovels. Nadine Hurley is still an avid viewer.
It took 12 episodes, but finally, after a couple of references to her but no appearances until now, Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) returns to ‘Twin Peaks’. Unfortunately, time has not been kind to her. More accurately, David Lynch has not been kind to her. The director has taken a beloved, iconic character and turned her into a bitter, hateful shrew. Immediately, she strikes a shrill note and spends her entire first appearance screeching at a beleaguered husband she despises (Clark Middleton from ‘The Blacklist’), demanding that he go to the Roadhouse with her to look for her lover, named Billy, who has been missing for two days.
That famous sexpot Audrey would be married to a little person is, I suppose, meant to be funny, in the same way that Lynch treated the Las Vegas assassin as comic relief. However, husband Charlie’s calm, patient reaction to his wife’s nasty behavior just makes her look like a truly lousy human being.
Never once does Audrey mention her son Richard or any other events that have happened on the show. Instead, she unfurls a brand new convoluted soap opera plot involving Billy, a stolen truck, and other never-before-mentioned new characters named Tina and Chuck. Audrey spends a long chunk of time listening to Charlie’s half of a phone conversation, after which he refuses to tell her what the person on the other end of the line said.
The episode ends, as many do, at the Roadhouse, where we’re introduced to yet more new characters involved in yet another new storyline that seems to have no relevance to anything else. Two women we’ve never seen before sit in a booth and gossip like teenagers about one’s cheating boyfriend. Then another doofus friend named Trick (frequent Lynch supporting player Scott Coffey) shows up complaining about having almost been hurt in an accident. Will any of this play an important role in the show later, or will it be immediately forgotten and never referenced again, much like the similar scene that ended Episode 9?
As much as David Lynch loves his non sequiturs, the extraneous new storylines in this episode feel particularly pointless. In fact, the comedy business with Gordon’s French girlfriend was likely included for no reason other than to taunt fans looking for story progress about how slowly the narrative is moving. A little bit of that might be amusing, but this whole episode feels like deliberate wheel-spinning.
On top of that, I find Lynch’s treatment of Audrey Horne simply unforgivable. If that’s how Lynch feels about his own characters, I almost wish ‘Twin Peaks’ had never come back at all.
This is a terrible episode, the show’s worst yet.